Saturday, May 07, 2011


My trip to Surigao to attend the Annual Convention of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines brought me for the first time to take the ferry trip from the port of San Ricardo, S. Leyte which is the southernmost tip of the island of Leyte, specifically the island of Panaon. (Panaon island is connected by a bridge to the mainland Leyte and is composed of four towns: Liloan, San Francisco, Pintuyan and San Ricardo). The older port going to Lipata in Surigao is situated in Liloan which is at the northernmost tip of the island of Panaon and it takes more than four hours ferry boat ride to Surigao. With the opening of the San Ricardo port, the ride has been lessened to just a little more than an hour. However, the San Ricardo port is accessible only to smaller vehicles as one has to pass through very sharp zigzag roads known as the Saddle Pass between the towns of San Francisco and Pintuyan that long trucks can hardly maneuver.

Got the chance also to see the newly opened zipline over the Agas-agas bridge which is the tallest bridge in the country.

Coming back from Surigao, I took the last trip leaving in the evening at eight from Surigao and stayed overnight at the parish of San Francisco, S. Leyte. This gave me the chance to go snorkeling at the much touted Napantao Reef in San Francisco. The last time we were in San Francisco we were in a different beach in Napantao and were not able to go swimming by the reef. This time I took the chance of seeing for myself the house reef at Napantao. There was indeed a good coral growth in this part. They were saying that the cliff wall nearby which drops to forty meters has one of the best diving sites around. That has to come the next time I visit the place.

Some of the corals at the Napantao Fish Sanctuary

The port in San Ricardo. There are four ferry trips daily to Lipata in Surigao leaving at two and six o'clock in the morning and in the afternoon. It takes just a little more than a hour to reach Surigao from San Ricardo. From Lipata in Surigao there are also four trips leaving at four and eight o'clock in the morning and in the afternoon. Fare is 140 pesos per person and the private car is 2,100.

Just newly opened last April is the zipline over the Agas-agas bridge, which is the tallest bridge in the Philippines. The zipline cost 280 pesos per person.

They are now advertising San Francisco as the diving capital of the Visayas.

The Napantao Fish Sanctuary.

Napantao is one of the areas being mapped out by the Coral Cay Conservation, a UK based nonprofit organization with international volunteers whose aim is to help alleviate poverty by providing countries with the information they desperately need to protect and sustainably use their tropical forests and coral reefs. Here, volunteers just got off from a scuba dive expedition while another (top) is on the way to a scuba trip.

The parish church of San Francisco, S. Leyte

The parish priest, Fr. Joy Catubig, is an amateur wood carver and he has plenty of wood carvings inside the church and the convento. Here, he used driftwood to decorate parts of the church.

The confessional box is also a piece of driftwood he discovered within his parish.

The Adoration Chapel is at a separate building at the back of the parish church.

This root of a large madre de cacao tree serves as the tabernacle in the Adoration Chapel.

The top of the root serves as the repository for the sacred hosts.


Islandvacations said...

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tina said...

Love the underwater shots :D

Anonymous said...

Hi good blog . Im going to visit the pacific coast of samar and leyte . im looking for free printable maps of Philippines , Maybe you can help !?

Fil Build said...

Hello Mr. Bernie Pantin,

A pleasant day to you.

I will be launching s2kd by the end of April. Primarily it will be a collection of personal stories of travel in the Philippines. The basic idea is for people to share the excitement of going places and at the same time offer useful information to would-be wanderers.

In connection with this I am requesting your permission to allow me to republish in full (text and images) your blog post at

As usual, full credits along with a link back to your article will accompany the republished content.

A preview of s2kd is available at

Hoping for your approval.

Ronald Alcazar

Brian said...

gr8 stuff. heading over soon. hope the sharks are friendly. ty

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